Few people thought of virtual events before the pandemic struck, but this format has fulfilled a unique and important need for companies and organizations large and small during the pandemic. What will virtual events be worth as the world tries to return to pre-COVID-19 times?
To find out, we caught up with top executives and investors in the sector to learn about the big trends they’re seeing — as the sequel to this survey we did in March 2020.
They say that certain use cases are proven. There are many niche events that you can attend year round. These may have previously been lost behind a bigger conference. Virtual events within an organization can be a great way to connect with and encourage remote-first team members.
Some respondents did acknowledge that virtual events of low quality are becoming more frequent, but everyone agrees that more needs to be done.
Xiaoyin Q, CEO and founder of Run The World
Do you think a return of in-person events will be possible now that the pandemic is hopefully under control?
Some events can only be rearranged in person. Things like a President’s Club, where the company gives you a Hawaiian party as a reward for your efforts — this kind of event will never go virtual. Events that are more about increasing reach will likely continue to be virtual.
Hybrid simply means that online and offline event formats can coexist. They will, of course.
Many events are becoming smaller and more niche. If we take a look at an event for general pediatrics, one might only be interested on two of the 200 topics. We’ve noticed a surge in niche events that are focused on specific topics. This helps to streamline the events.
These events will continue to take place virtually because it’s easier for people to communicate and organize. Another category of virtual employee events is gaining more popularity, as companies are increasingly collaborating remotely. Many internal events, such as the happy hour at the company — which helps employees be more engaged — are still being held virtually. There are many use cases that we believe will be possible online and they are likely to prove more effective virtual.
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Which trends are you most optimistic about once again in-person events become possible?
We are also seeing a growing number of event organizers hosting more events. Although they used to host large conferences, they are now pivoting or rethinking how they approach events. It is more cost-effective to host 10 or less events per year than one large event. Traditional conferences are multiday events that cover 200 topics with 100 speakers. Many people now think about spreading the word throughout the year.
Publiated at 19:09:22, Wed, 01 Sep 2021